Posted by : David Guyll September 16, 2013

It is nice that, after a few weeks of no Legends & Lore (and a pretty disappointing packet release), it comes back from hiatus with some good news: skills are back, +10 lore "skills" and skill dice are gone, and skills are not hard-wired to ability scores.

I made it pretty clear on at least one occasion that I was disappointed with the removal of skills; characters are already starved for choices, and I am not one of those people that believes that having a high Dexterity or Charisma is the same thing as being skilled at sneaking or talking to people respectively.


I am glad, and honestly a bit surprised, that they are going to be a default component of even the basic version of the game. I never thought that if done well they would overwhelm new players, and it sounds like that they are keeping that in mind by having them making you better at dealing with existing rules instead of adding new rules (jumping, I am looking at you). I think that the game is way better off with them, but even so if skills are not something that you want to deal with you will apparently be able to ignore them "fairly easily".

You can become proficient in a skill or set of tools, which gives you a static bonus. The article mentions a +2 to +6 spread, plus another +5 on top if you are an expert in a skill. I am fine with this so long as Difficulty Classes are not written with the expectation that a character will be an expert. It does not mention how many proficiencies you start with, or how you can get them, but that the bonus will depend on your level, and this is where I get a bit more iffy about the whole thing.

I would rather not see a character pick up proficiency later and have a huge bonus at it. It bugged me about the time Next introduced the skill die, where every skill had the same bonus, and if you opted to increase it they all got the same increase (including skills that you picked up later). I think a simple and organic way to go about it is to have characters spend proficiency slots to either gain a +2 bonus with something or improve the bonus to +4, then finally +6. Classes could have a class feature option where you can choose to become an expert in specific skills that make sense for it.

You could even rank skills and/or attach other potential benefits that can be unlocked, like 4th Edition's skill powers. For example getting Acrobatics at +4 makes you automatically take less damage from falling, while Acrobatics at +6 lets you use a reaction to reduce damage from an attack. You know, cool choices like that.

Something that I found interesting was how they mentioned weapons along with skills and tools. Does this mean that fighters will start with a +2 to all weapon attacks, or will they be experts (giving them a starting bonus of +7). At the least if weapons follow the same progression as skills then I think it will make it easier to peg DCs for characters trying to do creative things in and out of combat, like adding your Strength and Weapon bonus to bash down a door.

Finally the skill list. It is lacking in Dungeoneering, which I liked for its aberrant lore, but I am guessing that Arcana will give you access to that sort of thing. Strange to see Endurance get cut, meaning there are no skills linked to Constitution. Otherwise it is pretty much fine. Maybe include some kind of piloting or riding skill (unless that got folded into Animal Handling, which would also be fine).

{ 5 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. I am still confused why Search & Perception are separated skills as well as nature & survival....and what's the obsesion of having performance as a skill?

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  2. I think Perception or Search could be just one skill, it just depends on if you are actively looking (Int) or passively happen to notice something (Wis). I do not see a good reason to have two skills linked to two stats that are used to essentially notice things.

    Survival applications could just be folded into other skill categories depending on where you are trying to locate food or shelter (Dungeoneering for underground environments, Arcana for other planes, and Religion for godly dominions).

    As for Performance I could see a few cases where it could be useful to have (distraction and/or entertainment), but I think a big part is that like many other bizarre rules (saving throws, rigid classes, magical healing, etc) it was in an older edition.

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    1. I usually use Bluff for things performance cover, if it´s physical performance, then it would be athletics or acrobatics.

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  3. That makes sense, and is one of the strengths of allowing DMs to combine skills and stats however they want.

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  4. If not a complete skill for Perform, I would at least like a list of suggested skills to use in its place. I always have trouble as a DM deciding what skill(s) to call for when the bard performs, so I always end up calling for a charisma ability check.

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